TEMPE, Ariz. -- It's not a well-kept secret that the Cardinals have struggled against tight ends.
St. Louis' Jared Cook, New Orleans' Jimmy Graham and San Francisco's Vernon Davis have torched the team for a combined six touchdowns and 455 yards, while Carolina's Greg Olsen (five catches, 79 yards) and Seattle's Zach Miller (five catches, TD) also had good days.
Next up: Atlanta's Tony Gonzalez, whose importance to the club has been magnified since a season-ending injury to receiver Julio Jones.
Gonzalez was set to retire but decided to return when the Falcons essentially let him skip training camp. He has 24 catches for 276 yards and two TDs in his last three games.
"He's a great player; he's a Hall of Famer," Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said. "He's seen it all -- double-(teams), triple-(teams), two high (safeties), one high -- he's seen everything, but with the great quarterback they have, you can't just key on him, so you've got to pick your spots."
Cardinals players told reporters earlier this week that the struggles have come mainly because of mistakes in coverage and scheme rather than an inability in individual matchups. That's a well-worn NFL excuse, and it's one that plays well because mistakes can theoretically always be corrected. But were halfway through the season, so if that is indeed the case, why are those mistakes still being made when the cost is so high?
"It's frustrating as a coach any time you try to practice something and it doesn't go right, or communicate it and it doesn't go right," Bowles said. "We're working. We're on the same page. We just have to get it done."
LONDON NOT IN THE CARDS
The NFL announced the six teams that will play in London in 2014, the first year when three regular-season games will be held in the city. Despite earlier speculation, the Cardinals will not be one of them.
The Jaguars will host the Cowboys, the Falcons will host the Lions and the Raiders will host the Dolphins at Wembley Stadium.
The Cardinals are scheduled to play at Oakland, and they may play at Atlanta, too, since they are set to face an NFC South team that finishes in the same position in that division as the Cards do in theirs. That created the speculation that Arizona might be one of the teams slated for a trans-Atlantic flight.
Earlier this week, the team signed wide receiver Teddy Williams, released linebacker Kenny Demens (and then re-signed him to the practice squad) and released linebacker Zack Nash from the practice squad.
On the official injury report, running back Rashard Medenhall (toe) did not practice for a second straight day.During the open portion of practice, Mendenhall was riding a stationary bike, leading to speculation that running back Ryan Williams could finally be active for this Sunday's game.
Also, guard Daryn Colledge (back) linebacker Matt Shaughnessy (knee) and guard Earl Watford (knee) were upgraded to limited after missing practice Wednesday. Watford missed practice after being rear-ended in a car accident but was back working with the offensive line and on special teams.
Wide receiver Brittan Golden (hamstring), linebacker Karlos Dansby (quad) and running back Alfonso Smith (hamstring) also were limited.
Wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) and Jaron Brown (ankle), defensive end Ronald Talley (wrist) and nose tackle Alameda Taamu (hip) practiced in full. Brown and Taamu were limited on Wednesday.
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